Christ Church Outreach

OUR MISSION

To serve God by helping people in need of the basic necessities of life. By following Christ’s mandate in Matthew 25, “…for I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…”

OUR MINISTRIES

To strengthen and expand our parish’s commitment to helping people in need, the vestry formally established the Christ Church Outreach Committee. In addition to allocating budgeted funds to local non-profit organizations historically rooted in Christ Church Parish, the Outreach Committee coordinates with our partner organizations to schedule hands-on projects for which volunteers are needed.

Our ministries need and very much appreciate your time, talents, and compassionate spirit!  Information about our partner organizations and opportunities for hands-on outreach are outlined below along with information on who to contact.

Bridging the Gap

The motto of Bridging the Gap is, “Serving People in Need — Rain or Shine, All Year Round.”

People in dire need of a meal continue to join the line that forms every Thursday afternoon at the Lee Street bridge. They appear all year round no matter the weather conditions — heavy rain, cold and windy, or sweltering heat. Each week amid the crowd of 75 to 100 people are new faces and “regulars,” women, children, teens, and men.

Ways in which you can help with this year-round ministry include:

  • assist at Lee Street bridge with serving food on Thursdays, 5:00 pm
  • assist with food preparation
  • donate food items
  • donate funds to Christ Church designating your donation for “Bridging the Gap”

This ministry is coordinated by Christ Church parishioners, Dawn and Carol Cooper. Give them a call at (571) 274-1201 for details on how you can help.

When schools close for summer break, the number of children at Lee Street bridge for the Thursday meal increases significantly. To bolster funds available in summer for Bridging the Gap, Dawn and Carol Cooper, professionally-trained gourmet cooks, offer an elegant dining experience for 50 guests in the parish hall. This year’s event, scheduled for Friday, April 20, features a seven-course Italian dinner. Ticket sales open on April 1. For more information or to order tickets, contact June Linke at junelinke52@yahoo.com or 324-5702 (call or text).

Children in Crisis (CIC)

Since opening its doors in 2008, Children in Crisis (CIC) has provided a safe, secure, loving home to more than 800 children in the CIC Children’s Neighborhood.  Each year about 100 at-risk children are taken into the Neighborhood as new arrivals. On any given day, 55 to 60 children are in full-time residence. Sibling separation is minimized and CIC’s priority is to keep brothers and sisters together.  Consistently, about 47% of the children are from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties with the other 53% coming from Okaloosa and Walton counties.

The CIC Neighborhood, located in Fort Walton Beach, contains an emergency shelter and five family-style homes, all staffed with full-time, round-the-clock house parents. The beautifully landscaped campus also has eight studio apartments for transitional housing to help prevent young adults aging out of the foster care program from becoming homeless. The most recent campus addition is Kay’s Cupboard. This fully air-conditioned pantry provides space for accepting and storing donations of food, clothing, and household products.

With the opening of Kay’s Cupboard, hands-on outreach opportunities at CIC include: sorting food items, stocking shelves, and organizing clothing. Of course, donations of food, clothing (new and nearly-new) and household goods are always welcome.

Christ Church parishioners can also “throw a party” for the children at the Neighborhood Clubhouse. Interacting with the children in a joyful, family-style atmosphere is a wonderful opportunity to practice our mission of loving God by loving others.

To learn more about the CIC Children’s Neighborhood parishioners are encouraged to participate in a tour of the CIC campus. Upcoming tour dates will be announced soon. Plans for volunteer work sessions are also underway.

Christ Church Outreach activities at CIC and campus tours are coordinated by June Linke, 324-5702 (call or text).

Manna Food Bank

The mission of Manna Food Bank is, “To receive and store non-perishable foodstuffs donated from the community, and to redistribute the food to those from the community who have a legitimate, verifiable need.”

In 2017, with the assistance of more than 200 volunteers, Manna Food Bank distributed 644,280 pounds of food throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties providing food to 31,595 individuals in need. The food items packed in grocery bags for distribution through Manna meet USDA Standards for a Healthy Diet.

Food drives for Manna are a tradition at Christ Church.  “Bag It For Manna” days are designated each spring and fall.  This year our spring drive begins Sunday, April 8 with the handing out of colorful grocery bags after each service. On Sunday, April 22 parishioners return their grocery bags filled with food donations. Smiling volunteers will be on hand in the church parking lot to receive the donated items.

Christ Church parishioners, both teens and adults, also have the opportunity to further assist Manna by participating in a “sorting and repacking”  activity. Using Manna guidelines, food expiration dates are verified and standardized packages of food items are readied for distribution. Plans are underway to conduct this activity in late April.

To volunteer for the “Bag It For Manna” team, contact Daniel Rentz at 324-3750 (call or text).

Waterfront Rescue Mission

As stated on the Waterfront Rescue Mission website, “No one dreams of being homeless.”  People seeking Mission services are struggling to cope with a wide range of complicated life issues. Some 44% of the people seeking help at Waterfront Mission have jobs and are struggling to keep their families together. Military veterans make up 16% of the population served by the Mission. The staff and volunteers at Waterfront Rescue Mission strive to address the physical and spiritual needs of people who are hungry and homeless by providing tools and services that bring about positive and lasting life change.

Second Saturday Breakfast — Christ Church Outreach at Waterfront

On the second Saturday of each month, Christ Church parishioners have the opportunity to serve breakfast at Waterfront Rescue Mission, 380 West Herman Street. Yes, volunteers’ arrival time to help with this outreach activity is early — 5:00 a.m. But what an uplifting way to start the day! Over the course of an hour, volunteers greet guests with friendly smiles, prepare food trays and hand out drinks to around 125 people experiencing hunger and homelessness.

The food served at Second Saturday Breakfast is actually prepared at Christ Church a day in advance. Volunteers to help put together breakfast casseroles in Christ Church kitchen on the second Friday of each month are always welcome and appreciated!

For more details about Second Saturday Breakfast contact Lisa Williams, at 449-2212 (call or text).

Travel-size toiletries always needed...

Please feel free to donate toiletry items collected during your travels. The large collection basket for travel-size items is located under the hallway table outside the Rector’s office. These items are delivered to and are greatly appreciated by the folks at Waterfront Rescue Mission.

Seasonal Outreach Activities at Christ Church

Traditionally, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, Christ Church parishioners generously sponsor outreach projects conducted in the parish hall. These activities include:

  • Thanksgiving Dinner – A traditional Thanksgiving meal is prepared and served to approximately 150 homeless people — men, women, and children. Previously-collected coats and warm clothing are also provided to the guests. In addition, guests can get their bicycles repaired at no cost.
  • Angel Tree – A few weeks prior to Christmas, parishioners use information from Angel Tree “ornaments” to guide them in purchasing Christmas gifts for children in need. This activity is coordinated through the local Salvation Army.

Other Outreach Partnerships

Christ Church provides monetary support for several local, charitable organizations through the Outreach Committee.  The history of these organizations includes long-term, highly active leadership and involvement from many Christ Church parishioners, both clergy and laypeople. To learn more about the services provided by these organizations, please refer to their websites.

Favor House — www.favorhouse.org

FavorHouse of Northwest Florida is a domestic violence center serving Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. FavorHouse shelters and crisis lines are staffed 24 hours a day, year round. Victims, their families and those who are assisting them may call for help at any time – (850) 434-6600.

Loaves & Fishes — www.loavesandfishessoupkitchen.com

Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen serves approximately 4,600 meals to the homeless each month. This agency also operates an Emergency Family Shelter for up to 10 families in short-term crisis situations.

Pathways for Change — www.pathwaysforchange.org

The mission of Pathways for Change is to help families build productive futures by teaching them how to live free of drugs and crime. The core programs of Pathways for Change include Men’s Residential Treatment, The Family Center, and the Clinton Cox Residence for women in addiction recovery.

United Ministries — www.united-ministries.com

In 1987, Christ Church played a major role in the founding of United Ministries. Leaders of Christ Church, both clergy and laypeople, were key motivators in bringing together a group of local churches to establish a central location where families in crisis could receive assistance in a caring, comforting atmosphere.

The primary focus of United Ministries is to reduce the level of crisis for families with dependent children overwhelmed by the lack of funds for rent and basic utilities. United Ministries also serves as a clearinghouse whereby staff and trained volunteers inform client families about accessing community resources such as job coaching, vocational training, household budgeting, public transportation, medical care, and mental health counseling.

Foreign Mission Projects

At the international level, via the Outreach Committee, our parish sponsors activities such as the “March Madness”  project to support ministries conducted through the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund. Presently, the Outreach Committee is exploring various opportunities for on-site foreign mission work.

Your Ideas Are Important

As Christ Church discerns its larger role in local outreach efforts, the Outreach Committee welcomes your input, ideas, and active participation. Current members of the Outreach Committee include: Jen Bradshaw, Father Michael Hoffman (co-chair), Mia Jerrems, Hilda Jones, June Linke (co-chair), Donald McShan, Daniel Rentz, and Pam Tanner.

Please feel free to contact Father Michael Hoffman at 432-5115, or June Linke at 324-5702 (call or text).